Boehner Declares Birth Control Rule "Will Not Stand"
Republican lawmakers, behind strong words from House Speaker John Boehner, vowed to pass legislation Wednesday that would repeal the recent health-care rule that requires employers regardless of their religious affiliations to provide contraception and birth control services as part of employee health insurance plans.
President Obama has taken increasingly more criticism for the rule in recent days. Some, including a number of Catholics on Obama's staff, have said the mandate violates religious liberty, and is an example of a larger issue of government intrusion.
According to Bloomberg, the decision was no easy one for the president:
"President Barack Obama ended months of internal White House debate by siding with a group of mostly female advisers who urged him not to limit a health-care law mandate to provide contraceptives, even at the risk of alienating Catholic voters in November, people familiar with the discussions said."
Since its announcement on Jan. 20, the new health-care rule has, as Obama's staff predicted, become a controversial campaign issue.
Mitt Romney has accused Obama of waging "an assault on religion" that would force Catholic schools and hospitals to provide "free contraceptives and morning after pills in violation of their religious conscience."
Boehner said the mandate "will not stand."
On Wednesday, the White House tried to "ease mounting objections," according to the New York Times.
"Mr. Obama’s aides promised to explore ways to make it more palatable to religious-affiliated institutions, perhaps by allowing some employers to make side insurance plans available that are not directly paid for by the institutions.
"But White House officials insisted the president would not back down from his decision last month that employees at institutions affiliated with religious organizations receive access to contraceptives."
A Fox News opinion piece asserts that "President Obama violated Americans' fundamental right to religious freedom":
"How long would it take you to change your mind about a core conviction, something you believe in the very fiber of your being? What if it was written into law and you were forced to betray your conviction?
"For many Catholics and others, it is a reality happening this very moment."